The critically acclaimed Nigerian production of HEAR WORD! Naija Women Talk True directed by Ifeoma Fafunwa made its international premiere on April 15th, 2016 at the Harvard Dance Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The production was proudly presented by the Center for African Studies in association with the American Repertory Theater, the Division of Social Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Dance Center, the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research, the Mahindra Humanities Center, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the Theater, Dance & Media Concentration at Harvard University.
The four scheduled performances of HEAR WORD! were sold out, and brought together members of the local African diaspora with Harvard students, faculty, and staff, Cambridge theater-goers, students and faculty from Boston University and Bunker Hill Community College, and a sizable contingent of Nigerian women who flew in from Lagos to join the celebration. The two-week engagement of the acclaimed play also included class visits, pop-ups and panel discussions with the cast, director, and experts from Harvard University.
Ifeoma Fafunwa, the play’s creator, was appointed a Visiting Scholar at Radcliffe for the duration of her visit to Harvard. She and her performers were featured at the A.R.T. of Human Rights (A.R.T. and the Carr Center for Human Rights), Harvard Law School’s course on “Gender Violence, Law and Social Justice,” Theater Dance and Media’s course on “The Art of Storytelling,” and the A.R.T. Institute, a graduate theater training program. Additionally, 14 undergraduate and graduate students from across campus took time out of their schedules to volunteer at these events and interact with the performers.
The Center for African Studies was enormously proud to collaborate with so many committed and passionate colleagues across campus and in Nigeria on this initiative.